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Here we have a selection of our Frequently Asked Questions:
|Please explain more about bearing quality and how do I know I am getting a good quality bearing?||In the world of bearings there are in fact two different quality ratings being used. The type that a lot of people have heard of is the ABEC scale. The ABEC scale starts at ABEC 1, and jumps in increments of 2, so ABEC 3, 5, 7 etc. Usually bicycles are fitted with ABEC 1 Bearings when they are built in the factory at original equipment level, as in the main Bicycles parts do not necessitate an ultra precise engineered part (when compared to medical equipment for instance).
The ABEC rating does have it's limitations though. Reason being ABEC refers to how precise the fit, play and tolerance is between the balls and races. There are many more specification details to a bearing, so buying purely on the ABEC scale can result in a poor bearing from a material, seal and grease perspective.
The other specification quality rating used on Bearings is a standard called EMQ. This stands for 'Electric Motor Quality' – this has derived from the need for bearings on electric motors used in harsh environmental conditions to have a much more stringent criteria to meet – which takes into consideration Grease, Noise, Material Grade, Tolerances/Precision, Seal Type etc.
Kinetic Bike Bearings stocks a minimum of ABEC 3 bearings, with many wheel bearings supplied to EMQ specification (where available) for extra piece of mind. See full descriptions of individual bearing to establish if EMQ level.
Also, if you read more of the frequently asked questions below, you will see that we specify bearings to cycling standard in terms of their construction and grease too.
|Have you any advice on prolonging bearing life and looking after bicycle bearings?||To maximise life of the bearing, then there are a few useful guidelines, for instance:
- Do not direct a jet of water directly onto parts containing bearings is probably the most important advice we can offer
- Use the proper bearing tools when installing the bearing so not to damage. Bearings with damaged seal or bearings not seated true and straight will fail prematurely.
- Invest in some decent quality grease which is application specific. Bearings which do not revolve completely like Frame Pivot Bearings and Headset Bearings do not need to be low resistance and do not suffer much temperature fluctuation. For these types of bearings inside they contain a thicker marine type grease which is a fantastic barrier to moisture – so it makes sense to apply a smear of this type of grease to the outside surfaces when installing.
|What is the difference between LLB, LLU and 2RS Seals?||Most sealed bearing have 'two rubber seals' and referred to as '2RS'. Some manufacturers (such as Enduro) have different types of seals which are referred to as LLB and LLU. The LLB seal is a non-contact seal often found in higher speed applications such as wheel bearings, whereas the LLU type seal is a contact seal usually found in MAX Type frame bearings (where friction and heat is not so much of an issue)|
|What are MAX Bearings?||MAX or Full complement bearings are used in frame pivots on full suspension mountain bikes. Externally they will not look any different to a wheel bearing of the same size, but internally the construction is quite different. A wheel bearing has balls separated by a cage with a decent gap for grease to revolve and heat to dissipate. However, in the application of full suspension frame pivots the bearings do not revolve fully and generate heat, so they can be made much stronger (approx 35%) by removing the cage and fully loading the races completely with balls. We always recommend MAX bearings for frame pivots, especially in the main pivots where higher loads are experienced.|
|Why can't I just fit MAX bearings to all wheels and bottom brackets too?||A MAX bearing is all about strength as they experience a great load travelling through a small axis of movement (a few degrees). Wheels and Bottom Brackets revolve and thus generate heat, so it is more important that they have a cage, and thus gaps and a greater grease fill.|
|What Grease should I use when fitting bearings and how much should I use?||All our bearings contain grease which best suits the application they are intended for. The grease inside our wheel bearings will be lighter in viscosity and more temperature stable than the MAX type frame bearings. As frame bearings do not revolve and generate heat, we can specify a much thicker marine type waterproof grease.|
|When would I choose to buy stainless bearings?||There isn't much difference in longevity between Chromium and Stainless bearings. Where Stainless has an advantage is that if any moisture does penetrate the bearing, the Stainless bearing won't be affected by rusting/pitting as quickly.|
|How do I measure my bearings?||If there is no bearing code that makes sense, you can try and identify the bearing you need by measuring the Inner Diameter, Outer Diameter and Depth. To be accurate, it is advised to use a good quality digital vernier. Headset bearings usually have chamfer angles to measure too, but this is a lot more difficult to determine.|
|My bearings felt silky smooth before installation, but quite rough since fitting?||This issue is nearly often due to misalignment in fitting and why it is paramount to use good tools when fitting. Also, all surfaces need to be completely free from dust, dirt and burrs for instance. If you can remove and reinstall, then this may work. Also, sometimes a newly installed bearing that feels 'rough' or 'notchy' can free up once the bike is ridden for a short while as the bearing may find its way back to the correct position. Unfortunately this can happen as some entry level hubs for instance may not have accurate tolerances to begin with.|
|What are the advantages of Ceramic Bearings?||Ceramic bearings offer the user marginal gains in performance, but for the everyday cyclist that isn't racing at a high level it quite often isn't worth the extra cost. Ceramic is harder and lighter than steel for instance.
At present we offer Hybrid Ceramic Bearings only and in sizes usually seen on high end carbon road wheels. A Hybrid Ceramic bearing is a Hybrid of Ceramic Balls running on Steel races (usually Stainless Steel).
The reason we do not stock full ceramic bearings as they remain very expensive and have some disadvantages from an installation perspective. Most bicycle hubs are not manufactured to super fine tolerances, and therefore when fitting full ceramic bearings, the outer race of the bearing can be quite a tight fit. This can cause cracking or chipping of the race on installation or use if not fitted to a hub made for the tolerances a full ceramic bearing would require.
|How do your prices compare with other suppliers?||We know our prices are very competitive for what you get versus the competition. We certainly are not expensive and where we are not the cheapest then in most cases we have found the competitions offering is a bearing to lesser specification. We know our products are proven on thousands of bicycles as we have been supplying Independent Bicycle Dealers with their bearing requirements directly since 2013. Be wary of general non rated (ABEC of EMQ) bearings which have been cheaply assembled and not using bicycle friendly materials, grease, seals and tolerances.|